Artsakh's representative to the US, Robert Avetisyan

Washington’s St. Mary Church Marks 90 Years


WASHINGTON — On December 11, St. Mary Church in Washington, DC, celebrated the 90th anniversary of its establishment.

Some 240 parishioners and friends gathered in historic Heritage Hall of the Catholic University of America (CUA), to rejoice in the past and embrace the future with a renewed vision.

St. Mary community members honored, with Rev. Hovsep Karapetyan at left, and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, second from right

During the program, longtime St. Mary community members were honored for their contributions and impact on generations of Armenians. Honorees included Clara Andonian; Ed and Roseann Alexander; Sahag and Betty Dedeian; Paul Ignatius; Meline Kaehn; Yn. Anahid Kalayjian; Gloria Kassabian; Casey and Bella Kazanjian; Gloria Kazanjian; Helen Krikorian; Verjin Sahakian and Zakar Shahverdian.

Mistress of Ceremonies Mariam Khaloyan introduced keynote speaker Sarah Ignatius, recently retired executive director of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), whose speech emphasized the historic role of the Armenian Church.

Sarah Ignatius

Sarah  Ignatius concluded: “St. Mary Armenian Church plays a vital role in filling that space in our hearts when we search for meaning, hope, spiritual direction, continuity with our lost homeland; fidelity to our traditions; and communion with our ancestors, family, and friends…. Enduring faith has helped to keep Armenian people together in hard times and good times, and has brought us together here tonight.”

The program also included a beautiful performance of traditional Armenian songs, by the a Capella trio Zulal.

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Additional remarks were made by Parish Council Chair Shoghig Sahakyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Lilit Makunts; Permanent Representative of Artsakh Robert Avetisyan; Dean of Theology and Religious Studies at CUA Fr. Mark Morozowich; St. Mary pastor Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan; and Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director Archbishop Vicken Aykazian.

Ambassador Lilit Makunts

To mark the anniversary, a new “Embrace the Future” endowment fund was established to ensure the church has the resources to continue and expand its ministry to the community.

St. Mary’s 90th anniversary celebration continued on December 12 with the badarak celebrated by Archbishop Aykazian. Ten dedicated altar servers were ordained as acolytes and received a special blessing by his hand: Alek Seferian, Alex Nazaryan, Andranik Seropian, Aram Seropian, Davit Barseghyan, Edmund Mcclure, Sevak Stepanyan, Van Topjian and Vartan Karapetyan.

Kevork Marashlian, at right

The weekend closed with congratulations to the newly ordained acolytes, and expressions of thanks to all those who contributed to and supported the anniversary event.


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